Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I Choose Hope- Jon Bennion

By Jon Bennion-

Editors note: The following blog is an small excerpt, used with permission of the author, from Jon's Bennion's book "You Don't Know Jack: A Micro-Preemie Story"

The clock on the wall said it was two o'clock in the morning, which meant I hadn’t been sleeping long. Despite the sheer exhaustion from the most horrific day in my life, I couldn't drift into sleep easily knowing that a nurse could appear at any moment and tell me my son had stopped breathing or had no pulse. The medical staff told me earlier I could go back and see him at any time, so I got up quietly, walked past a group of nurses playing cards, and found the NICU entrance.
“How is he doing?” I sheepishly asked his nurse.
“He’s doing well. He is not requiring much oxygen right now.” The ventilator was pumping each breath in and out of his underdeveloped lungs, but the amount of extra oxygen needed was quite low.
“Oh, okay,” I responded with a certain level of surprise. I was expecting an answer like, “he could slip away at any moment.”
I was still struggling with the notion that I was now officially a father and how I should act and feel in this crisis. If I chose to believe Jessi’s OB-GYN regarding Jack’s viability, I would have to hope for my son to pass on with as little suffering as possible. I would need to brace myself for death. That meant I needed to prepare myself and protect myself from the inevitable catastrophe.
If I chose to believe the more optimistic views of the other two doctors, I could expect Jack to survive and possibly make it out of the NICU in the coming months with few complications. 

Do I choose hope, which also opens me up to the greatest disappointment of my life? Or do I believe statistics and accept an outcome that is very likely?

It was during that night when I learned my first lesson as a father. My role in life had changed substantially – more than when I started kindergarten, learned to drive, graduated from college and law school, and even more than when I got married.  There was a miniature human being with my genes that was now totally dependent on me and others for his very life. Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.
At some point, it became clear to me that I needed to be a father by choosing hope. My son needed a cheering section with me leading the charge, not a scared, despondent dad bent on protecting his own feelings. If Jack ended up succumbing to the complications of his extreme prematurity, I would be crushed. But my own feelings were not important enough to withhold my faith in my son. I would survive somehow. If I couldn’t be my son’s biggest fan, who would be?
Despite feelings of denial, fear, anger, and desperation, I made the choice that hope would overcome any negative feelings about the situation we now faced. Jack needed me – he needed his dad.
I’m here for you, buddy. I will do anything for you. I believe in you.

1 comment:

  1. John, this is so well written, and I really enjoyed it. I still remember the day I figured out I had to start acting like Owen's Dad. Good Luck with the book. Would you mind if I shared this on my twitter feed?
    Mark Brislin